A blog by John Holt, honoring a friend:
We didn’t have a lot in common really. Come to think of it.
He was a big city boy. I grew up in a small town. He loved the Cardinals. I’m a Royals guy. He embraced the Tigers, I the Jayhawks. He had PSA’s. I did not.
And that last one, perhaps more than anything, was our bond. The start of a beautiful friendship, in spite of our many differences. The Prostate-Specific Antigen. The marker from a screening test that led doctors to my early diagnosis of prostate cancer.
His was more complicated. Far more advanced. Far more dangerous. It had spread to his bones, and then beyond. But when he reached out to me on Facebook as I recovered from my prostate cancer surgery more than two years ago, it was the start of something good.
Very good. We had prostate cancer in common. That was all that mattered.
He and his wife and son took his diagnosis seven years ago and grieved, briefly, then shook it off and ran with it. They formed a foundation, they sponsored events to raise money for research and awareness, and they lived. They had no idea how long they’d have: two years, perhaps four, maybe longer. He offered himself up for clinical trials on cutting edge research designed to prolong life and perhaps even find a cure to the advanced stages of prostate cancer, which strikes one in six men, and will kill about 28,000 men this year alone.
And he reached out to patients like me. To offer his support, his friendship, and to recruit us in his war on a disease he hated as much as his capacity to love the Cardinals, the Tigers, his family, and us.
This week, we said goodbye to David Emerson. In spite of his FAITH, his LOVE, and his HOPE, he just couldn’t WIN his own personal battle. David succumbed to prostate cancer at 49. Gone too soon for his wife Mary, his son Brad, and his legions of friends.
And as I reflect on our time together, not once did David ever resent our key difference: my early diagnosis and his advanced stage. He actually would joke about it in some joint appearances we made. It put all of us at ease.
Did I mention his faith, his love, his hope, and his desire to win? That’s the name he and his family placed on their foundation, which has raised nearly $275,000 for advanced prostate cancer research.
David had faith, much love, so much hope. And while he didn’t win his personal battle in the end, his legacy will help win the war. Early detection. Treatment. A cure. In that way, he’s touched millions of men and their families who never enjoyed the good fortune I had in getting to know him.
Thanks David. God Bless you on your new journey. Turns out we did have much in common. Come to think of it.
Click here for a story FOX 4 aired in July on David Emerson and his Warrior Combines to raise awareness about prostate cancer.